Photo: SmashOnTheBeachBeach Tennis - World Championships 2014 - 1 August 2014 - Dorothee Berreth/Carina Blank (GER)
German duo Dorothee Berreth and her partner Carina Blank are part of a large German presence at this Beach Tennis World Championships.
And Berreth, who was introduced to the sport by a tennis-playing friend, has been hooked on beach tennis since first trying it out four years ago.
"I played my first tournament and fell in love with the sport and carried on training,” said Berreth. “It had very little in common with tennis so I had to learn the techniques and tactics from scratch."
While she is not able to compete in beach tennis events as often as she might like, Berreth is hoping to broaden her horizons in the sport over the coming years.
"At the moment I don't play beach tennis professionally as I am studying to become a teacher in Germany and it's very difficult to make enough money through the sport at the moment,” she said.
“The tournaments I have been to all have people who are happy just playing and having a good time. I would love to travel to some of the more exotic locations such as Aruba and the Reunion Islands. They seem fantastic!”
With her nation's increased presence at this year’s World Championships in Cervia, Italy, there is no doubt that the sport is gathering momentum in Germany. Berreth, however, thinks there is still more that could be done to help increase the visibility of the sport.
"The beach tennis season is at the same time as the tennis one so it is difficult to attract people away from a more established sport such as tennis,” she opined.
“To improve the visibility and the quality it is important to start with the kids, getting them to try the game early on and showing them that there is an alternative, especially as there are many beach courts already available at tennis schools."
The Berreth/Blank partnership has made a solid start to the tournament in Cervia, winning their first round match against Swiss pairing Stefania Boffa and Laura Galli 63 63 on Friday. Their second round match is sure to prove a much greater test as they face Italian team Violante Battistella and Michela Zanaboni.